Despite what some people think, being cabin crew is more than just fancy uniforms, tea and coffee, beef or chicken, sexy pilots and exotic lay-overs. The role can often be incredibly demanding and challenging.
Despite these challenges one of the biggest requirements of our role is to be happy, to smile, or ‘Teeth and Tits’ as we call it.
So I asked my lovely Trolley Dollies across social media what makes them happy in their role onboard. What makes them tick, what makes those sometimes long and arduous days locked in a metal tube that little bit better and here, in no particular order, are the 50 best responses.
1. Hearing that undercarriage come down or the Captain say ‘Cabin crew seats for landing’ – you’re nearly there. Then when those wheels kiss the tarmac back at base and you know it’s home time. Heaven.
2. When the last passenger, who has usually been taking forever to get their shit together, finally disembarks. You’ve had 10 hours to sort your stuff out GET. OFF. MY. AIRCRAFT.
3. Crawling in to your own bed when you get back off a trip. There really is no better feeling, especially when you’ve put on fresh linen!
4. When passengers bump their heads on the over head locker. Cruel I know, but especially funny if said passenger has been horrible to us.
5. Pay day. For those few precious hours when your wage hits your bank account and your rich. Then all your bills come out at once and by the 2nd of the month you’re poor again and back to eating crew meals.
6. Roster day. When we get to see what destinations we’re flying to next, who we’re flying with, which flights we’ll be needing to swap off (or call in sick for) and of course when our days off are.
7. Days off. No more polyester, no listening to passengers complain about things we can’t change, no pervy pilots – unless you’re married to one. We work bloody hard and our days off are precious.
8. Flying with your friends. You can tell what each other is thinking about that annoying passenger with just a look. You know how one another works and what makes each other tick. Flying with your friends really does makes work fun and time literally flies – pardon the pun.
9. Weekends off. Working shifts can be the pits, especially when our friends and loved ones invite us to parties etc and we can’t make it because it’s 5am on a Sunday morning and rather than just getting home from a night out, we’re just getting up and getting ready for work.
10. Annual leave and getting to be a passenger instead of crew. Some time away from flying is always good, no matter how much we enjoy the job.
11. When your standby flight becomes a confirmed seat. PHEW!
12. Not working the holidays. Bank holidays, Christmas, Easter, Valentines. Whenever these dates come round it’s always a battle trying to get them off so we’re very happy cart tarts if and when we do.
13. Watching passengers struggle with the Lavatory door. It never gets boring.
14. Compliments from passengers – ‘That was the best flight we’ve ever had’ – it’s a lovely thing to hear. People are so quick to complain these days, but compliments are much harder to come by. So dear passengers, if you have had a good flight then please tell the crew, they’ll appreciate it.
15. The hot Captain, fit First Officer or cute new crew member. It’s always nice to have a bit of eye candy. #PILF
16. Surviving standby roulette. Will I get that sinking feeling when the phone rings? Will I have to paint on that smile and put on the uniform? Where will I be jetting off to? Or will I get to spend the day on the sofa watching Netflix?
17. Crew rest. Busy inflight services, demanding passengers, whether it’s in a designated crew rest area or behind a galley curtain, it’s a relief to get a break during the flight from our beloved passengers.
18. Getting paid to see the world, stay at some of the worlds best hotels and lie on a beach in the sun when it’s pouring with rain back at home.
19. When passengers control their kids and don’t let them treat our aircraft like their personal play area – we’re not onboard to be childminders.
20. Devouring the delicious left overs from the posh seats up front, especially the puddings.
21. Landing drinks…. If you know, you know.
22. Getting upgraded, turning left and travelling first class when flying on a staff ticket. It’s great to be treated like a rock star by your colleagues without having to pay a fortune to sit there.
23. Sitting in the cockpit for take off and landing. Since the flight deck door was permanently locked after 9/11 this doesn’t happen very often. We sometimes take moments like this for granted, but it’s another fantastic perk so grab every opportunity you can to do this.
24. Passing your initial training and yearly recurrent exams. I think it’s safe to say we all hate exams, but you can relax now, the hard work is done, for another year at least.
25. Best on board (BOB) – the best looking passenger on the flight. You may see crew walking up and down the aisles studying passengers. Don’t be alarmed we’re just checking out the BOB. If we’re lingering around your row then you may well be the BOB. Did we say ‘Cheerio’ to you instead of the usual ‘buh-bye, thank you, take care’ etc? Well this also probably means that you were the ‘best onboard’. It’s a game we play as passengers disembark. Basically, get your suitcase you’ve pulled.
26. Wings day for new entrants. You’ve made it. You’ve survived your new entrant training course and the day you pin your wings on to your new uniform is definitely a day to be very proud of yourself.
27. Being promoted. CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve earned it. Just remember that the aviation industry is a volatile place so never forget where you came from because for those climbing the ladder, it can be a very long way back down.
28. For those #avgeeks amongst us – flying on a brand new aircraft. That ‘new plane’ smell, all the new gizmo’s and gadgets to try out. Exciting.
29. Operating an inaugural route. It can make you feel very proud of the airline you work for. Even better if there’s a bit of a party laid on.
30. Trying on your uniform for the first time. Still one of my fondest memories of my flying career. I remember being so excited. It’s a proud moment when you see yourself and your colleagues in those smart new threads.
31. When your airline gets a new uniform – especially if it’s as glamorous as any of those that have made it in to our ‘Style in the Aisles’ Top Ten Uniforms. It’s that first time trying on excitement all over again.
32. When you get onboard and you can finally give your feet a rest and change from your heels in to your flat cabin shoes.
33. Getting home or to the hotel, ripping off the polyester and getting to take off those sweaty 4 sector tights or socks.
34. The view from our office. Another part of our role we may take for granted. Each day just take a few minutes to look out of the window and take in that spectacular view…..
35. Meeting new and interesting people everyday – flying with a new colleague or getting to chat to passengers. You really need to be a people person to be crew.
36. Perfect passengers. Polite, funny, have manners, organised – those who don’t clog up the aisle when they board, stay in their seat and disembark quickly. For more information on how to impress us as a passengers check out – ‘How To Be The Perfect Airline Passenger’.
37. Sitting with your colleagues and friends in the galley on canisters and jump seats, having a tea or coffee and a bit to eat and….
38. Catching up on all the latest galley FM gossip.
39. Meeting your favourite celebrities onboard. Sometimes they can be lovely like Victoria Beckham who was described by one crew member as ‘Nice, eats nothing and sleeps’; or Prince William: ‘Years ago we flew him back from Mexico when he was on his gap year. He was sat down the back but came and joined us in the front galley for hours and chatted. So pleasant and amusing.’ Sometimes however, that saying of ‘Never meet your heroes’ can be very true like when Geri Halliwell was on a flight and acted like a ‘Precious princess whose finger was permanently attached to the call bell. Our purser was going to inform her we didn’t need a princess we already had a Duchess in 1A’ or Madonna who was described as, ‘A bit precious on one of my flights. We had to go through her PA to speak to her.’
40. Getting presents off passengers. If you want to be our #1 then bring us a little gift and we’ll make sure you have the best flight you’ve ever had. A nice box of chocolates or bag of sweets for us to share in the galley usually does the trick.
41. When passengers listen to us and follow our instructions – for once. They watch intently as we do the safety demo, stay sat down when the seat-belt sign is on, go back to their seat if we ask them. We’re onboard for you safety so if we ask you to do something we’re not doing it to annoy you, we’re doing it because it’s our job.
42. Joining the mile high club. It’s not just passengers who have sex on planes. If those crew rest areas could talk…..
43. Showing children – those budding new pilots – the flight deck after landing. I used to LOVE going up to the cockpit when I was a kid to visit the pilots. Again 9/11 sadly stopped all that. But you still can visit the pointy end once we’ve landed time permitting. Always ask the crew.
44. Seeing the excitement of first time flyers, especially kids. That buzz when they’re sat staring out of the window on take-off full of wonder and awe as those engines power up, we hurtle down the runway and soar off in to the sky.
45. When passengers have their order ready for you when out with the trolley – none of this ‘What do you have?’ bollocks.
46. Helping a nervous flyer overcome their fear and stay onboard for the flight. I’ve had a few heart breaking moments when passengers, gripped with fear have offloaded themselves before we’ve even left the gate. If you’re a nervous passenger speak to the crew when you board, we’re here to help.
47. Wine, or whatever beverage tickles your fancy. Yes there is nothing better than getting home after a long, hard day at 39,000 feet and pouring ones self a large glass of Pinot.
48. Seeing passengers gripped with terror when we hit turbulence – especially the ones who have been a bit mouthy to us before hand, but turn in to a quivering wreck when it gets a bit bumpy.
49. Room parties down-route. We crew most certainly do know how to throw a paaaaarty! But what happens down-route, stays down-route.
50. And last, but by no means least……Confessions of a Trolley Dolly Here to make you smile every single day!
© confessionsofatrolleydolly.com by Dan Air.